A History of Tady Lures keeps West Coast sportfishing lore on the front burner

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BY MIKE STEVENS

SAN CLEMENTE— Buzz surrounding the new book, A History of Tady Lures by Scott Manson really took off heading into last Show Season, and those who already own it quickly characterized the project as an essential look into West Coast sportfishing history via a deep dive into one of the fishery’s most-respected brands. With Father’s Day coming up, WON did a quick Q&A with the author to unveil the roots of the book and what it took to put it together.

When did you decide you wanted to write a book?

I’ve always known I would write a book one day, I just didn’t think it would be a book like this.

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Why Tady?

I had been fishing buddies with Joel Shimizu (current owner of Tady Lures) for a few years. As someone who teaches history and loves history, I would always ask Joel questions about his family business. He would always tell me that I needed to talk with Dan Fink (his father’s friend). Then one day Joel texted me to tell me that Dan Fink had passed. I decided to start the book the following day. My friendship with Joel Shimizu was why I chose to write the book on Tady. Also, being friends with him gave me access to items and documents that others might not be able to get. Besides that, I am a huge fan of the Tady brand and everything they produce.

 

What were you hoping to achieve with this book?

I was hoping to help Joel answer questions about his family company and to leave my mark on this industry. But ultimately, I wrote the book for myself as I wanted answers to some of the questions we had. As a kid, my parents did not have a lot of money to send me fishing, but they would occasionally get me a fishing magazine or a book. I would read every magazine and book until all the pages were falling out of it. I think 12-year-old me would have loved this book.

 

Tell me about the research process. Was it more or less of an undertaking than you thought?

It was a lot of work. I started in February of 2023 and finished in November of 2023. Ten months to research the history, photograph items, scan documents, find jigs, interview people, write the history, compile everything and format the book. Most weeks were very similar. On Saturday, morning I would go to a swap meet to look for Tady items. Then I would schedule an interview for that afternoon near where the swap meet was. I would usually repeat that on Sunday. Then I would spend weeknights calling a few of my trusted sources (including Joel) to make sure the information I got on the weekend was correct. Working as a teacher made it tough because I would work all day and then write at night or on the weekends.

 

Were there surprises or big roadblocks you ran into while doing the research?

Lots of them. Unfortunately, a lot of this history is gone. There are still a few guys around that have this knowledge, but it wasn’t always easy to find them. The “Lucky David” story was a hard one to track down. And even when I went to print, I still had unanswered questions and pictures I was still looking for. I still never found out who the “Tady Mike” or the “Tady Walt” were named after. But the biggest roadblock was coming up with the funding to print such a large book. I was lucky that a few close friends and family members helped out.

 

I saw that some of the books didn’t make it in time for Show Season. That had to be a bit of a bummer.

It was a huge blow when I got the news that I would not have the book for the shows. It was financially devastating, but I was really looking forward to handing people their books after working on it for a year.  I was really thankful to everyone who still decided to support the project by pre-ordering the book.

 

 

What elements of the book do you think readers will find most interesting?

It’s funny that everyone I talk to loves something different about the book. For some people, this is a history book, and a lot of those people love the Japanese Internment documents that I included. For the collector, this has become a catalog of everything Tady Lures ever produced and the list for them to find what they are missing. For others, they love all the little stories behind all the jigs. But for the majority of the guys I hear from, this has been a connection to their childhood. My favorite part is all the old advertising from publications like Western Outdoor News.

 

Any thoughts of doing another one with another storied brand?

I’ve already started a second and third book as the idea is to have a 3 volume set. I don’t ever think I will do a book on one company again (unless Salas comes calling) as book 2 and 3 will be about several companies.

 A History of Tady Lures can be purchased at www.greyarrowpublishing.com and author Scott Manson can be reached at djscottmanson@yahoo.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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